Study: Broadcast News Is Posting Ad Revenue Gains This Summer

By A.J. Katz 

The news division is traditionally thought of as the least profitable arm for a broadcast network. In fact, it’s usually known for posting losses. Buyers tend to be more skittish when it comes to buying for news as opposed to buying a network’s sports or entertainment programming.

But according to July 2018 data from Standard Media Index, broadcast news seems to be producing a positive profit & loss.

TV news programming for July on the big three of ABC, NBC and CBS saw ad revenue expand by +8 percent, per SMI data.

Then, there are the cable news networks, which have been thriving for a while now from an ad revenue perspective. In July, cable news continued to post significant ad revenue gains.

CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, HLN and Fox News, posted 18 percent higher results in national ad revenue than their broadcast news counterparts, according to SMI, which tracks 70 percent of national ad spending from global and independent agencies.

For the month, MSNBC grew the most: +44 percent vs. July 2017. Fox News was +10 percent year-over-year, while CNN was +8 percent.

Year-to-date, MSNBC is +58 percent in ad revenue, CNN is +14 percent, and Fox News +8 percent vs. the same time period in 2017.

Among TV network groups, Comcast continued to have the biggest share of ad dollars for news, at 35 percent, with NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC carrying the load.

21st Century Fox (Fox News & FBN), Walt Disney Co. (ABC News), and AT&T/Time Warner (CNN) each had a 16 percent share, while CBS Corp. (CBS News) was at 8 percent.